REALWorld Law

Sale and purchase

Ownership restrictions

Are there any legal restrictions on foreign investors acquiring real estate?



Generally, all lands are vested in State Governors who hold and administer same in trust for the use and benefit of all Nigerians citizens.

Section 22 of the Land Use Act provides that it shall not be lawful for the holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the Governor to alienate his right of occupancy or any part thereof by assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sublease without the consent of the Governor, a provision which applies to foreign investors and Nigerians alike.

By the Acquisition of Lands by Aliens Law of Lagos State (ALAL), a foreigner/Alien may acquire land in the state, however such acquisition is subject to the approval of the Governor of the State. The consent of the Governor of the State shall however not be required where the interest acquired is for a period less than one year.

An Alien under the ALAL has been defined to include a company in which the majority of its shareholders are foreigner.

Also, by Section 28 of the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority Law 2022, a Nnon-Nigerian who wishes to invest in real estate is required to obtain the permission of the Governor and the term of years to be granted to a foreigner will not exceed 25 years including any option to renew.

We however advise that notwithstanding the above restrictions, a foreign investor can acquire real property in Nigeria through a company or other corporate vehicle duly incorporated under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Section 17 of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Act, 1995 also provides that a non-Nigerian may invest and participate in the operation of any enterprise in Nigeria. Any company that is empowered by any law to acquire land in Nigeria can do so like a citizen whether it is owned by a foreign investor or a Nigerian.